September 1st, 1995.
"BLAISE! THEO! TORI! Come quickly! The train is leaving!"
The platform 9-and-3-quarters at King's Cross station was overflowing with throngs of wizards and witches on the annual departure to Hogwarts on September the first. The familiar scarlet and black steam locomotive appeared as eye-catching and majestic as always among the red brick stones that made up the platform. Grey smoke drifted from the chimney of the train, passing over the throngs of people across the platform. Several first years found the train both exciting and awe-inspiring as it was their ticket to a year of learning at the famous school of magic in all of Wizarding Britain. Older students were milling about with their friends and family or reserving compartments on the train while parents were helping them with their luggage or saying goodbye to their children. Kneazles of all sizes and colors were roaming across the platform while owls hooted from their cages with some of them flying over the platform. In simple terms, the atmosphere of the platform hadn't changed due to the events at the end of the last school year or the summer after.
During the month of June, the death of a student at the last task of the Tri-wizard tournament, while a cause of grief, did not come as a shock due to the very nature of the tournament. But the end-of-the-year announcement of Albus Dumbledore, the Headmaster of Hogwarts, stating that the death was caused by a resurrected Lord Voldemort was met with a massive wave of disbelief, with most of the families and students shouting that he had gone around the bend. The Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, and his Senior Undersecretary, Dolores Umbridge, alongside the various heads of departments and several prominent Nobles had issued statements throughout the summer stating that Dumbledore was spreading lies among the population and causing fear to ensure his appointment as the Minister of Magic. While the summer had been quite tumultuous for the British wizarding world, it was unable to affect the excitement of the students returning for a new school year.
At the ten-minute mark to departure, a whistle was heard throughout the platform, the sound maintaining a pleasant and audible quality, achieved through a modified sonorous charm. Students began boarding the train with their pets with families arriving in the last few minutes hurrying their charges into available compartments. Parents and guardians were shouting their farewells while students were waving from the windows.
Amidst all of the commotion was Tracey Davis, a fifth year Slytherin, shouting to her friends to get onto the train. She possessed a heart-shaped face, sparkling hazel eyes, curly black hair with a reddish-golden tinge to the tips and a rather melodious voice. She was standing next to the door of a carriage, raising her voice to ensure her friends could hear her over the din of the platform.
"BLAISE! TORI! COME IMMEDIATELY OR I'M BOARDING WITHOUT YOU!"
"COMING MOTHER!" A unison of two voices, one mature and snarky with the other cheerful and excited, shouted out to Tracey in response. The mature voice to Blaise Zabini, a tall, tan and lean boy of fifteen-going-on-sixteen and fellow fifth-year in Slytherin. He belonged to the Zabini family that held a notorious reputation in Italy, and were rumoured to have come to Britain after the defeat of Grindelwald to get a feel for Magical Britain, with possible ideas for expansion and setting up… discrete business ventures.
The excited voice belonged to Astoria Greengrass, the youngest daughter of the Greengrass family; the Noble and Ancient House of Greengrass, to be exact. Said girl was thirteen, and was awaiting her third year at Hogwarts. She had blonde hair, just like her mother with hazel eyes, and a round face with expressions that was considered adorable. The Greengrass family held itself to a strict reputation of being staunchly neutral. Politically, the Lord espoused the view of the traditionalists, but refused to practice bigotry against muggleborns or magical races. The family stayed away from the Press; a very convenient advantage that the Lord Greengrass had acquired by buying twenty percent of the Daily Prophet, the leading newspaper in the Wizarding World of Britain. The family owed its wealth to the various investments and shares in a variety of magical and mundane companies.
While Blaise and Astoria, also known as 'Tori' to her friends and family, approached Tracey and began managing their luggage, Tracey's boyfriend, Theodore Nott, another Slytherin in her year, appeared at the door to the carriage. Theodore, also known as Theo to his well-knit group of friends, was a fifteen-year old Slytherin much like Blaise, and was the younger son of Lord Nott of the Noble and Ancient Family of Nott. A bibliophile by nature, the black-haired boy with sharp, brown eyes that betrayed his intelligence was considered an honorary Ravenclaw by the head of said house, Filius Flitwick. He had reserved a compartment and had been calling out to his friends to enter the carriage for the past half-hour so that he could get back to his books while also ensuring that he did not anger his girlfriend, in case she believed he was ignoring her.
Tracey, as she had done for the past hour, would give a mature response befitting her age and blew a raspberry at him;
Theo looked like a typical harassed boyfriend and rolled his eyes at the last minute preparations of his friends. "Why won't you just come in, Trace? How long do you people need?" Theo asked, his forehead furrowed in impatience.
"Just a minute, Teddy." Tracey countered, not even dignifying her boyfriend's question by turning towards him.
Theo looked heavenward for some divine intervention. "Fine!" He gritted his teeth and went back to the compartment.
Tracey just rolled her eyes at her boyfriend's lack of patience and continued checking the luggage. Once she and her friends had completed their checks, she looked around before shouting out to her missing best friend. "DAPHNE!"
"COMING TRACE!" The melodious sound reverberated amidst the sounds of the crazy throngs of the crowd on the platform. The voice belonged to Daphne Greengrass, the elder daughter of the Greengrass family and a fifth-year Slytherin. A little about five-ten in height, the young girl had luxuriant long, sleek raven-black hair with icy-blue eyes, a slightly chiselled beautiful face with a long nose and soft-looking full pink lips. She was dressed in a dragon hide jacket with black tights covering her long legs and blue trainers with emerald earrings. She quickly bade farewell to her father and ran towards her best friend, knowing very well that Tracey would not call on her unless the train was just about to leave. Joining her friends and sister, they boarded the train and went off to find their compartment.
The train let out another whistle and began to slowly move along the tracks. Families were waving their hands in goodbye to their children, some of them with tear-filled voices. The older students, like Daphne and her friends, merely sat back and relaxed in their compartment to enjoy the eight-hour journey to their school.
Finding their compartment, and Theo, who had his reading-glasses stuck on his nose and immersed in a book on defensive magic, Daphne and the friends, along with her sister, entered the compartment, stashed their luggage in the overhead racks and eased themselves onto the seats. Daphne took the window seat opposite to Theo while Tracey sat beside her boyfriend who was concentrating on the book in his hands. Blaise sat next to Daphne with Tori stashing her luggage on the overhead racks. Once she was sure that her bag was stored properly in the rack along with her sister's, she ran out of the compartment and went to find her friends.
Tracey was eager to begin a conversation – it was her not-so subtle attempt at trying to deviate her boyfriend from his book – and began chatting excitedly with Daphne. "So Daph, ready for your OWL year? I am still getting the creeps for it. OWL exams are supposed to be tough after all."
Daphne gave out a shudder at the thought. "I will have to start right away. We were away for most of the vacation and I hardly had time to finish the homework. It will be a surprise if I even manage to score an EE this time."
"Oh, sod off Daph!" Blaise commented, rolling his eyes at her response. "Everyone knows that you will probably get the highest scores in Slytherin House. If it wasn't for Granger, you would probably get the highest score in the entire school. I am still not sure how Granger does what she does."
Blaise was thinking of Granger's reputation at school. She was a muggleborn who held strong pro-muggle views while managing to ignore the student's taunts and comments on her and scoring her highest in her year. It was simply on the list of unbelievable achievements he thought could be possible by her.
While his friends knew of his interest in Granger, Daphne was the only one, so far, to realise there was another reason for it. Blaise harboured a tiny crush for the muggleborn girl, although he was quiet about it. Daphne knew that if his romantic interest in her was known to her house, both Blaise and Granger would quickly become targets. So she kept her deductions to herself. She was quickly snapped out of her musing on Blaise's crush by Tracey's query.
"And what about your secret boyfriend, Daph?" Tracey asked with a contagious grin.
Daphne's eyes widened, her calm composure shattered due to her surprise at Tracey's question on her love. Her eyes narrowed in anger, wishing for Tracey to evaporate on the spot. Tracey, however, merely gave an excited grin at her reaction.
"TRACIIIIEEE!" Daphne's voice hit a pitch strong enough to shatter eardrums and even Theo, flinching at her reaction, could feel the mixture of embarrassment and humiliation present in Daphne's loud rebuttal. It was quite different from the normally silent and cold front she presented at Hogwarts.
"What?" Tracey countered back with a characteristic drawl, a grin on her face.
"Do you remember anything about our talk to 'never-speak-anything-about-it-until-I-tell-you'?" Daphne accused, her lips thinned and icy blue eyes flaring in anger. A dragon-breeder would have easily compared her expression with that of an angry dragon, her voice close to growling, eyes narrowed, lips thinned to the point of vanishing and her stare - her dangerous icy stare - all focused on Tracey. Needless to say, the fact that Tracey had not evaporated away was quite a magical feat in itself.
"But he is coming to Hogwarts this year anyway!" Tracey defended herself.
"That doesn't give you the right to spill the beans." Daphne near-snarled.
"But it is your boyfriend, and we all deserve to-" Tracey's words stopped midway, as she felt Daphne's cold, unforgiving stare right on her. "Theo!" She snatched the book from his hand, much to his indignation, "Back me up!"
"Back you up in what?" Theo countered in annoyance at his book being stolen from his hands.
"Oh, you are useless!" Tracey waved him off, throwing the book back at him. Returning Daphne with her own mocking stare, she continued. "Since he is coming to Hogwarts anyway, I don't understand what the bloody big deal is!"
"The big deal is that he wanted it to be a silent matter, especially considering the political atmosphere in Britain." Daphne hissed.
"Hey! Could someone tell me the story as well. Who is this secret lover that our ice-queen over here hid from us?" Blaise intervened. Daphne blushed slightly at the 'lover' comment and Tracey gave out a whooping laugh at her expression.
Seeing Daphne, the frigid ice queen of Slytherin, blush, Blaise's eyebrows shot up. "Okay, now I'm seriously interested. Daphne is blushing. That is one of the things on my list of impossibilities."
Daphne rolled her eyes and gave out a long-suffering sigh. Giving into the demands of her friends, she responded "His name is Ares James Black."
Silence permeated the compartment at her answer. Tracey seemed excited at finally learning the name of her best friend's boyfriend and thoughtful upon hearing his last name. Theo, whose book was lying on his lap, and Blaise's eyebrows furrowed in thought and silently exchanged looks before Theo questioned Daphne, a note of disbelief and curiosity in his voice. "Correct me if I am wrong, but perchance, does Black refer to Sirius Black, the last of the Blacks who had deserted Britain after the last war?"
Daphne nodded. "Ares Black is the adopted son and heir of Sirius Black. Apart from that, he also has another name, one which you are very intimately familiar with. His birth parents had named him, and you might know him, as Harry Potter. "
"Harry Potter is your boyfriend?" Blaise returned, punctuating his words in disbelief.
"He prefers being called Ares, but well- yes, he is." Daphne answered.
"Interesting. Heir Apparent of Potter and… Black." Theo grinned. "Malfoy will be devastated."
"The prat was boasting about his Black inheritance due on his sixteenth birthday." Blaise laughed.
"Hold on!" Tracey interrupted. "You said that your boyfriend also held a Lordship of another Ancient House, but it wasn't Potter or Black, and I will shut up now." She completed, her face white at Daphne's glare. "Damn! me and my big mouth!"
"What's she referring to, Daph?" Blaise asked, his eyes brimming with interest.
Daphne sighed. She considered it. Knowing her boyfriend, it wouldn't be a secret for much longer since he had every plan to reveal it publicly. However, he had also asked her to keep it secret until he decided to reveal it. She looked at the inquisitive stares her friends gave her.
Damn you Tracey!
"Okay," She returned in a resigned tone. "I will tell you, but I need your word that you all will keep it secret."
The entire compartment was instantly flooded with a sparkling bluish sheen as three secrecy oaths took effect.
Daphne sighed. She hoped that her decision wouldn't complicate matters. "Harry Potter, or should I say, Ares Black- holds another Lordship." She paused.
"WHAAAT?" A unison of three voices boomed in the compartment, loud enough for Daphne to flinch tightly, eyes closed, at the sudden yelling from three quarters of the compartment. Opening her eyes back, she smirked at the stupefied faces of her friends and relaxed into her seat.
"Lord Slytherin? But you never mentioned that to me!" Tracey complained, a hint of anger in her tone.
Daphne smirked at her best friend. "And give you the chance to blab it out to the entire school? No way!"
"But how come we have never heard of him before?" questioned Blaise, head cocked in thought and open curiosity in his voice. "All we know is that Harry Potter, the boy-who-lived-" He rolled his eyes at the title "-had miraculously off'ed the dark lord in 1981. After that night, he was taken away and no one knew where he was. Just that Sirius Black was supposed to be behind the disappearance, although it was never proved as Sirius Black had never returned to Britain."
Daphne stared at her friends in thought before responding to Blaise. "Sirius Black had taken Harry away to Bulgaria, and had him educated at personal cost and choice. Harry has pursued his magical education in private for years."
"So why is he coming back to Hogwarts NOW?" Theo asked, his book completely forgotten on his lap and mind racing at the thought of the upcoming political changes within the student body when the Boy-Who-Lived appears in Hogwarts.
"Because the Ministry of Magic has made it mandatory that all Lords of Noble and Ancient Houses must have passed their OWLS and NEWTS from here in Britain in order to take their seats in the Wizengamot. And also, because I-" Daphne blushed at the memory "-might have convinced him into coming."
"Convinced, eh? I am wondering what the convincing might have entailed." Tracey winked at her best friend.
"Oh hush you!" Daphne admonished, a smile on her lips.
"So where is he?" Blaise asked.
"I don't know. He informed me that he would be seeing me at Hogwarts. Said he'd be sorting out priorities or something." She shrugged.
Five compartments away, a tall, lean young man slept soundly on his seat, his legs stretched out towards the other seat and his back resting on the hard wall of the compartment and a book lying open on his chest and his luxuriant jet-black hair nearly covering his eyes. He was around six-feet in height and wore dragon-hide boots and an acromantula silk dueller's robe. The dark green dragon hide jacket that he wore suited his white shirt. His travels though the realm of Morpheus were completely undisturbed from any happenings in the carriage.
A knock sounded at the door.
He slept on.
Another loud knock.
He did not stir.
The door banged open and three boys entered the compartment. The middle boy, a pale blonde of similar height to Daphne, and the two heavy-set boys beside him stared at the young man who did not wake up despite the noise. The pale blonde stared down at the sleeper and smirked, his wand easily slipping into his hand. Pointing his wand towards the still sleeping young man and waving it in a swirly fashion, he whispered "Aguamenti!"
Aguamenti. The water-summoning spell. A conjuration spell taught during the fifth year to Hogwarts students. Like most elemental conjurations, the power of the spell depended on the caster, with most casters summoning a small stream of water while more powerful casters could conjure a torrential geyser. Water conjured through the spell would gush out through the tip of the wand in the direction it was pointed towards.
The pale blonde, Draco Malfoy, cast the spell to create a surprise a wake-up call for the compartment's sole occupant who had rudely ignored his presence and continued to sleep.
Therefore, it was quite a shock when the water flowed halfway from his wand towards the sleeping young man, seemed to stop midway and then flew back, drenching Draco completely. The two heavyset boys beside him, his bodyguards, did not know what to do, and thus, as usual, stared blankly, waiting for precise directions from their leader.
Quickly getting over his surprise and confusion, Draco snarled at the still sleeping boy and yelled "What the hell?! WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!"
Emerald eyes sprang open as the now awake young man slowly looked up at the faces of the intruders in his compartment and was quite confused - and a bit amused as well - as to why the blonde in front of him was drenched. Then he remembered how his repellent ward was suddenly triggered.
"I suppose you-" The young man began to speak, but was cut off by the angry ramblings of the drenched and obviously incensed blonde. His face suddenly filled up with a grin, deducing that the angry blonde had encroached upon the compartment had tried to bully him by trying to drench him with water; well, the clues pointed in that direction.
"Apologies. I did not hear you enter, and I did not catch your name. Who might you be?" The boy with emerald-green eyes asked genially.
Draco looked at the green-eyed young man as if he was a strange insect. "You are riding this train and you don't know me! Obviously, you are a mudblood, but you seem too old for a firstie."
The young man brushed aside the 'mudblood' comment. Magical Britain was indeed overflowing with bigoted purists and it was obvious that he would encounter it himself. There were plenty of people willingly, and ignorantly, swayed by the powers the bigots held in Britain.
"I am not a firstie as you said, but yes, I am not from here. Home-schooled, actually."
Malfoy raised an eyebrow, a sneer appearing on his lips. "So you are a mudblood. Stand up and let me lie down and relax for a while."
The young man, Ares, raised his eyebrow. This blonde idiot, whoever he was, was quite arrogant. Giving his trademarked cocky grin, he inclined his head towards his left shoulder and eyed the blonde. "I'm not sure I got your name."
Looking incensed, Draco's sneer became more pronounced, if that was possible, and pompously stated "I am Draco Malfoy, Heir to the Noble House of Malfoy, and the soon-to-be Lord Black. Now get off the seats, you filthy mudblood."
Ares' forehead furrowed. What was this imbecile saying? He had lived with Sirius all his life and Sirius never mentioned having a bastard child. Unless his-
"Are you deaf? I told you to stand!" Draco ordered, his fists curling at the young man's seeming indifference to him and his station.
Ares sighed and stood up. Facing the blonde and looking at him in the eye, he replied, a hint of steel in his voice. "Listen up, you overgrown monkey. Go back into your compartment and rest. Please remember for your own benefit- Never proclaim anything unless you are sure of it. Now please..." he relaxed back into his previous position before the blonde walked in. "Get out."
"Wha-" Draco started to refute, but an invisible force hurled him and his bodyguards outside the compartment as the door shut with a resounding thud while Ares cast several wards to ensure that he was undisturbed for the rest of the journey.
Draco and his henchmen fell down on the floor while the door closed in front of his face. He stood up quickly and began pounding the door, casting all the unlocking charms he knew. When the charms failed, he resorted to blasting curses on the door.
But the door remained unaffected and remained closed.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: (Dated 20-12-2017) Firstly! Hey guys! I am back, completed rejuvenated after being in stasis for quite some time, and well, Me and my co-author, Skadarken (previously Skadarken-Weiss) decided to go all tabula-rasa and recreate the story from its primitive origins into something much more… sophisticated. Although the initial divergence from the original text will be faint in the initial chapters, you will begin to spot the divergence with the next couple of chapters soon enough.
And now, hopefully I have answered your condescending question of "Why did you go to rewrite it, moron?" and well, see you in the next chapter.
Skadarken pontificating in his usual and less-obvious sarcasm:
For those wish to know how the rewrite came about:
AP: You know what, let's rewrite the entire story.
Me: You sure?
AP: Yes. Needs a bit of work, anyway.
Me: Okay. Let's do it.
Anybody looking for a deeper meaning to the rewrite, please understand AP and Me are two normal guys (Read: We are closet occultists with a fetish for books) just looking to have some fun.
Romance. Drama. Adventure. Tragedy. Angst. Horror. Humour.
The current version shall contain all the above genres, unless my fellow author, Arcturus, decides the story needs more improvement. In which case, I not so sincerely apologise f-
Arcturus: Phew. I never thought he'd shut up. Don't worry, guys. It's just a stunning spell. He'll be up in a few hours. Unfortunately.
Well, enjoy the story, people. Don't forget to review. WE do appreciate them.